Point of View

Putting Design in its Place

This is the story of the design and so, a story of collaboration and exchange of knowledge — guided by ingenuity and joy — between those from away and those from here. Furniture is an important part of the language and expression of a particular place and time; it can also form the basis for unmediated connections between communities.

Putting Design in its Place is a rally cry to resist cultural homogenization and rural decline

Design of This Place

We should ask a lot of a chair. This is not a place that you can simply create a chair. The chair must be of this place. The chair must take the cultural knowledge, traditions, and personality then embody them.

Profound hospitality and informality are the two prevailing qualities of traditional homes in Newfoundland outport communities like Fogo Island. Outport Newfoundland communities were exposed to global trade and took influences from different eras and memories and used them freely without regard to rules resulting in a unique vernacular called Outport Aesthetics

Fogo Island Design Fundamentals

Economy of Materials

Total utility of all materials, repurposing discarded ones, and now working to dematerialize design by using the least amount possible

Cultural Context

Different forms include visual references, responses to Fogo Islanders’ experience, preserving skills & traditions and embodying the personality of Fogo Islanders

Enough is Enough

Less things that are longer lasting and built with a Right to Repair plan to keep them alive and interesting to the enjoyer for longer

Sociable Anarchy

Fogo Islanders can be friendly and passionate. They appreciate challenging contrasts and taking a contrary point of view

Beautifully Useful

It isn’t beautiful unless it’s useful, but at the same time aesthetics should be emotional. Fogo Island design is pretty problem solving

Human Authorship

The sign of a human hand and perfect imperfection is integral in creating a connection between those who make and those who enjoy

Creative Parity

Our makers are designers, and our designers are makers. The collaboration between those who are of the place, with the culture and craft, and those from away with different perspectives to reinvent the traditions is one of equals.

Beginning with a workshop we called The Aesthetics of Outport Interiors, and with the help of Ilse Crawford, we invited designers to Fogo Island to immerse themselves in its history and culture. Collaborating with local artisans and makers, their goal was to design meaningful pieces, using regional materials and construction techniques that would speak to the ongoing story of outport design.

This collaboration between those from here and from Away continues today as we explore design in the service of nature and culture.

Fogo Islanders

Fogo Islanders of eight generations or more and new Fogo Islanders all help make visions a reality

Those From Away

Designers, Academics, Development Cosultants and Thinkers all help connect Fogo Island to the World

Maker's Mark

Maker’s marks are traditionally unobtrusively placed on products as a mark of authenticity and pride. Often taking the form of a monogram, as abbreviated form that provides useful means of simplifying a long makers name into a symbol that is reproducible at a small scale.

When considering the initials of Fogo Island Workshops — FIW — we were reminded of the International Load Line. This universal symbol, familiar to Fogo Islanders, indicates the depth for safely loading cargo on boats. Fogo Island Workshops' role is to hold on to traditions through modern expressions in objects and reach out into the world and share our unique culture. You can only do that by loading a boat.

The connection between those who made the object, and their embodied energy, and those who enjoy cit cannot be escaped. The question is whether you are helping or hurting them with your purchase? In supporting us you are making it possible for them to thrive.

Search our site

Shopping Cart

Your cart is currently empty.